Automotive school is a necessity for anyone who wants to pursue a career as an auto mechanic. However, the school you go to can affect the path your career takes after graduation. Factors such as quality equipment, knowledgeable instructors, strong degree and ASE certification programs, the school’s qualifications and reputation, and student services all lend themselves to the overall quality of your education. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly research the automotive schools you are considering before making a final decision.
Your goal in attending automotive school is to learn as much as possible about auto mechanics; therefore, it is important to ensure that the school will provide the training you need. Part of this training is plenty of hands on experience. A good automotive program should include not only classroom lectures about automotive principles and mechanical theories, but also ample opportunity to work on cars and practice your skills. Be sure to ask how the school gets an ample supply of cars for students to train on; some schools may rely on donations, while others may attract paying customers in the community with discounted rates.
The school you attend should also have an ample supply of up to date equipment. A school with a shortage of the proper tools will make it difficult for you to get sufficient practice, and old or damaged equipment can be a safety hazard. Since your education depends a great deal on the amount of hands on experience you get, the automotive school you attend should be fully equipped to meet the students’ needs.
Naturally, the curriculum is a major factor in the quality of your education. The school you attend should have several different degree programs to choose from, allowing students flexibility in choosing their career paths. A good automotive school also offers an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification program, where students can become certified in different areas of expertise, adding to their qualifications and increasing their potential salaries. ASE certification requires passing at least one of more than forty available tests, as well as proof of at least two years of relevant work experience; the school you attend should fully support students in acquiring these certifications.
Accreditation is also an important indicator of the quality of education a school can provide. Accreditation verifies that a school meets a predetermined set of standards; however, there are many different accreditation agencies, so it is important to research not only a school’s accreditation, but also the accrediting agency’s reputation and standards. If being able to transfer courses you have taken is important to you, be sure to find out how many other schools are accredited by the agency, and whether the credits you earn at the school can be transferred.
Additionally, you should consider the school’s reputation: an education from a school with a good reputation can make you stand out from the other applicants and help you get a job, but an education from a school with a bad reputation can also hurt your chances of getting a good job. By searching the Internet and talking to other mechanics, you can find out whether a school is known for providing quality education. You may also want to contact several dealerships and garages and ask whether they would hire a graduate of one of your top choices. After all, your education must do two things: not only provide you with quality training, but also indicate to potential employers that you have received quality training.
Similarly, student services are an important part of a good automotive school. Examples of student services are financial aid and loan offices, student housing or assistance in finding housing, and the availability of internships. Job placement services are particularly important; most good schools will offer some type of job placement assistance to students and graduates. A school that guarantees job placement after graduation may indicate a high success rate among its students. Also, many schools have relationships with local dealerships and garages, which is a considerable benefit to students and alumni of the school.
Naturally, there are other, more personal deciding factors when choosing an automotive school, such as the cost of tuition and the school’s location. Ultimately, your decision will depend on which features are most important to you. Whether you make your decision based solely on the quality of education the school offers, or on a more tangible benefit such as affordability or location, be certain that you choose a school that will help you achieve the career you seek.